Chapter 7 – Ye Jing’s Thoughts
**Originally translated by Incarneous, with slight edits
The speaker was speaking without any ulterior motives; yet the listener somehow detected a hidden motive.
Yan Zhaoge spoke casually, but Ye Jing, who had just returned to his home town in glory, no longer held the complicated feeling from before.
Everyone else was in a good mood. Despite being overshadowed by Yan Zhaoge, they suddenly realized that they were no longer in Broad Creed Mountain, which meant in this place, the Eastern Tang Kingdom of East Heaven Region, they were also considered gifted geniuses.
As a disciple of one of the Sacred Grounds, Broad Creed Mountain, they were originally tested and chosen from amongst the very best talents of large powers like Eastern Tang Kingdom. How could any one of them be weak?
It was just that each time one of them started to feel the slightest bit conceited, a single glance forward to that leisurely proceeding blue-mantled back would immediately eliminate their fickle thoughts.
When their hands came into contact with their artifacts, ideas of striving harder and reaching higher would occupy their thoughts.
In the Eastern Tang Kingdom, only the best elites of the Royal Palace Defense Army had a cultivation comparable to theirs, and even then, their weapons were superior to the Royal Palace Defense Army’s demi-artifacts.
Of course, they could not be compared to Yan Zhaoge at all.
Even the people they interacted with were on a completely different level.
The person Yan Zhaoge would visit first was the king of Eastern Tang Kingdom who needed no introduction. He was Eastern Tang Kingdom’s number one warrior. He was the ruler of one of the three great powers of the East Heaven Region, which belonged to Broad Creed Mountain, a powerful and influential figure in the area.
And the Eastern Tang Kingdom’s acting Elder was Broad Creed Mountain’s representative in the Eastern Tang Kingdom. He was the prime minister of the nation and his position was higher than Elder Cui, who had forced Yan Zhaoge into an awkward position at the sect.
Even though there was a difference between internal and external positions, cultivation levels, and degree of authority, but under clan regulations, elders of the Assignment Hall like Elder Cui served to oversee important cities or rich lands, or the extraction and use of important resources when they are placed in a position outside of the sect in places like the Eastern Tang Kingdom . Known as Acting Elders, their duty was to protect the clan’s interests.
On the other hand, Principal Elders served to oversee kingdoms, nations or large sects or clans. They watched over those forces and served to ensure Broad Creed Sects influence and income in those places. As Principal Elders, they were also responsible for dealing with any unexpected situations that may arise.
After entering the city and choosing a meeting spot, Yan Zhaoge left for the palace alone. Ye Jing and the others separated and acted on their own in the capital.
Ye Jing did not have any interest in revisiting his old haunts. He walked along the river that flowed through the city until he reach a bridge. Setting foot on the bridge, he stood by himself as he looked down at the fast flowing water, calmly and wordlessly.
Sikong Qing soundlessly appear behind him. Ye Jing detected her arrival without concern, “Senior apprentice-sister.”
“Are you thinking about just now?” asked Sikong Qing as she slightly tilted her head.
Ye Jing shook his head, “At the time, I felt he was purposefully showing off; but after giving it some thought, it seemed unlikely.”
Si Kongqing said, “Then you are thinking about the artifacts senior apprentice-brother Yan granted to everyone?”
When they were at the clan, only Ye Jing of the sixteen people in the expedition did not choose one of the artifacts Yan Zhaoge brought. The other fifteen people including Si Kongqing each chose an artifact.
“Senior brother Yan might be showing off; but he does have the qualification,” said Si Kongqing as she moved to stand at Ye Jing’s side, “Low-grade artifacts are inanimate constructs; they cannot take sides. Our future achievements will not be decided by a single low-grade artifact. Senior brother Yan treated everyone equally and gave an artifact to each person. Thus I saw no reason to decline an artifact. He will not miss it because in the future, he will have even better things.”
Ye Jing nodded. Even though Sikong Qing picked out an artifact just like everyone else, she did not place much weight on this act due to her confidence in her future achievements.
“You choose not to accept an artifact. It might show your determination to walk your own road,” said Si Kongqing, “But it could also be interpreted as you refusing senior apprentice-brother Yan’s kindness. The fact you refused means you are unable to differentiate good from bad. However, I feel senior brother Yan was not specifically expressing any intentions towards you. There is not much difference between the way he looks at us and the way he looks at you.”
Her words unexpectedly caused Ye Jing to tighten his fists. That figure from yesteryear that took way his childhood sweetheart and completely ignored him seemed to once again appeared before his eyes.
“I don’t know what he thinks, but I will not accept anything from him,” Ye Jing said. His words gradually grew more tranquil and his eyes were filled with a vigor stemming from confidence, “To the current me, a low-grade artifact is naturally something very good, but my body and my cultivation are still more important.”
Sikong Qing said, “That is also true. So long as your mind is clear and your heart unclouded, your cultivation will be more successful. A clouded heart will cause your cultivation to easily suffer. It is worthwhile to simply let yourself go and act purely guided by your feelings.”
Ye Jing clenched his fist and said, “Yan Zhaoge is currently stronger than me. That is the truth. Not only is his strength stronger than mine, there is also the Internal Crystal Furnace artifact-forging technique, but I will not always lose to him. I will definitely surpass him.”
“A mere Martial Scholar is not much. I will compete with him. Who can become a Martial Grandmaster first? And after that, who can transcend the impure and ascend into the realm of Martial Saint first!”
In this world, martial cultivation was divided into realms. Starting with the Body Refinement realm, there were three major stages, first the body-tempering stage, next the meridian-connecting stage, then finally qi-directing. Each of these stages was divided into three phases; early, mid and late.
So far, there were nine levels in total, and after those levels was the tenth level, which was also the final, peak stage of the Body Refinement realm. Thus, there were 10 levels in body refining.
Above the peak stage existed a large bottleneck. If a Martial Artist was able to break through, they would have successfully entered the realm of a Martial Scholar.
While it may not be apparent in Sacred Grounds like Broad Creed Mountain, in reality, someone who could become a Martial Scholar already had the qualifications to open their own minor school or establish their own minor sect.
The leaders of many tiny forces also happened to be in the Martial Scholar realm.
The Martial Scholar realm was divided into three major stages; they were-the inner aura stage, the outer aura stage, and the Xiantian level. Each major stage was divided into three phases: early, mid and late. In addition, there was a final stage at the end, the Heavenly Connection stage.The Martial Scholar realm consisted of these ten levels.
And above the Heavenly Connection stage, there was an enormous gulf. People who managed to cross this gulf would become Martial Grandmasters.
Once they reached that step, they would already be powerful and influential figures in their local area, as well as famous figures recognized throughout the entire Eight Extremities World.
Martial Grandmasters also had four stages and ten levels. The final stage was called the Impurity Transcending Stage, as a Martial Grandmaster transcended the impure in order to reach sainthood. If a person managed to reach this stage, they would have a slim hope of advancing into the Martial Saint realm, officially becoming a Martial Saint.
In the present world, the number of known Martial Saints could be counted on one’s fingers.
“His Internal Crystal Furnace artifact-forging method can forge artifacts and spirit artifacts, but can it forge a sacred artifact? To a martial sect, how can any number of spirit artifacts be compared to the significance of possessing a single martial saint?”
Ye Jing’s pupils shone with a brilliant light. Even though he had already established his Dantian’s qi ocean, he was only at the eighth level of Body Refinement, at the mid Qi-Conducting level. And Yan Zhaoge had long since reached the Martial Scholar realm, moreover already being at the late inner-aura phase.
However, Ye Jing was full of confidence. He believed he could definitely surpass the young man who seemed like his destined adversary.
He had sufficient perseverance and resolute conviction. Furthermore, he had a trump card of his own.
Ye Jing softly let out a breath of aura-qi. His fingers twisted the dark red ring he wore on his right hand.
It did not matter that his starting point was low. He only needed to improve quickly. Then, there would definitely be a day when he caught up and surpassed his target.
Sikong Qing looked at Ye Jing, “Junior brother Ye, your potential is extraordinary. Hold onto your lofty ambitions and keep your feet firmly on the ground, if so then there will surely be a time when you transcend the impure and grasp sainthood.”
Ye Jing smiled and said, “I am just boasting. Senior apprentice-sister, please don’t make fun of me. You have already reached the peak stage, and are only one step away from becoming a Martial Scholar. Right now, you are the one most likely to surpass Yan Zhaoge, and also the one most likely to become another Martial Scholar of Broad Creed Mountain’s young generation.”
Sikong Qing said, “However, this time, I do not think senior apprentice-brother Yan holds any ill intent. On the contrary, elder Cui’s words in the Assignment Hall were truly suspicious, as if they were meant to provoke conflict between our two sides. Junior apprentice-brother Ye, you must be careful of any such hidden move in the future. There are many interpersonal relationships in the sect that are not easily understood. One could very easily be drawn into these dark undercurrents unknowingly.”
Ye Jing nodded, “I understand.”